Monday, January 24, 2011

Cinema Achievements of 2010. Part I: Detailing Films Ten Through One

2011 is here and it’s time once again to reflect on the many cinematic achievements of 2010. While I respect the funkmasters opinion given his esteemed degree in the filmic arts, I do not share his cynicism towards the state of the craft in this modern age. It is without debate that mainstream cinema continues to disappoint with its continued celebration of mediocrity, but there are still gems to be found if one looks hard enough. Thanks to Netflix, the internet and some persistence, seeking out filmmakers who continue to push cinema to the limits has become easier and easier, and for one such as myself… I am still able to keep the fires of cinematic passion burning. So to you Manny I say pshawwww…..heres my top ten

Quick note – I have not seen True Grit or The Fighter or The Kings Speech….i imagine True Grit would find its way on here for sure the other two…maybe a revision will occur but aside from Grit I feel this list is pretty solid

10 - Animal Kingdom - David Michod

The cover for this film calls it "Australia's answer to "Goodfellas"".....a quote that I feel misrepresents the film quite a bit. This feature from first time director Michod shows us the Australian underground through the eyes of an orphan thrown into his estranged family's troubles after a recent tragedy. The biggest diference...when our hero enters the scene the family has already begun its downfall. We never get to see the glory side like Scorsese shows us, rather Michod takes us on a tour of a family falling apart at the seams as it struggles to stay together. This debut is impressive because of how straightforward it is, relying more on long takes and cutting out the sound to set an overwhelmingly somber tone. I often found myself watching and taking a few moments to realize the horrific acts appearing on screen because he lets them unfold organically before he draws your attention to them with his camera.

9 – Scott Pilgrim Vs The World – Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright is smarter than all of us, and that’s really something we’re all going to have to deal with. This is the perfect example of style supporting the substance. Wright creates a world in which you can never gather enough coins, 1ups exist, and if you gain enough experience you can pull a flaming sword out of your chest. In other words every boy’s dream who grew up in the nineties.

8 - Mic Macs – Jeane Pierre Jeunet

Jeunet does whimsy like no one else. He uses film to transport us to another reality where people live in junkyards and make beauty out of trash. Where weapons are evil and together with our creativity and perseverance love and art will always come out ahead. His actors embrace this hyperreality and help to bring this reality to life. The result is an optimistic movie dealing with themes far more serious than most would think upon first glance.

7 – The Ghost Writer - Roman Polanski

Polanski returns to the thriller genre here and does so in top form. Ewan Mcgregor is the titular hero ghost writing the memoirs of an ex primer minister. He soon uncovers secret plots, war crimes, CIA agents and more. Polanski works within the genre so masterfully that he keeps you engaged while working the slow burn up until the very end.

6 – The Good The Bad and The Weird – Kim Jee-Won

Taking its cues from Leone this Korean western starts and never lets up. With its amazing cast of bounty hunters, assassins, and train robbers, not to mention the Japanese army, all scrapping to find a treasure map the film moves at a bullets pace using the camera to weave in and out of the action it serves to set the pace of the film without being distracting(im looking at you Tony Scott).

End of Part I (10-6)... Part II (5-1) will begin after a brief intermission.

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